This year marks the 40th anniversary of the launch of the Porsche 924, the car that would ease Porsche out of the financial difficulties of the 1970s, and which, along with the 928 series, became the flavor of the front-engine era that included the 944 and 968 models. To celebrate this anniversary, Porsche Great Britain is applauding the 19 dealerships that are restoring various models of this water-cooled car next year with a flagship example.
With the blessing of Porsche AG, which has supplied the car, the lead restoration for Porsche GB will be the British-driven 924 Carrera GTP of Tony Dron and Andy Rouse from the 1980 24 Hours of Le Mans. More than 35 years since this car turned a wheel in anger, it will now begin the first stage of its restoration journey in the UK. This began with the launch of the project before various members of the invited press at the Silverstone Porsche Experience Centre on December 4.
The restoration will be undertaken by four Porsche Classic Partner Centres, located in Glasgow, Hatfield, Leeds and Swindon. Porsche Glasgow will undertake the work on the suspension, brakes and wheels; Porsche Centre Hatfield will look after the gearbox and drive train; Porsche Centre Leeds will have the responsibility for the cooling systems and electrics and electronics, while Porsche Centre Swindon will take on the task of bringing the engine back to life. The aim is to sympathetically restore this iconic car back to the condition in which it completed the 24 hours at Le Mans in 1980.
Both Dron and Rouse expressed great pleasure at the plan and were delighted to be reunited with an old friend that has been hidden away in the back store of the Porsche Museum since the mid-1980s, placed on a pallet high in the air. The three cars that ran at Le Mans in 1980 were decaled in the national colors of the USA, Britain and Germany. The car being restored in the UK is chassis 002, as driven by Dron and Rouse, and is the only one of the three that remains in its original condition, making it somewhat valuable and unique.
The 924 Carrera GTP cars were built to provide a marketing tool for Porsche to introduce the model to aid sales and to be the forerunners of the Carrera that ran at Le Mans the following year, which preceded the launch of the 944 range of cars. For the 1981 24 Hours it was necessary to build 400 cars to qualify the 924 Carrera model for the GT class; this was achieved by the creation of the 924 Carrera GT (406 built) and subsequently the 924 Carrera GTS and GTS Club Sport, of which only 59 were made. Porsche considers the 924 Carrera that is being restored in the UK as marking a significant celebration of what became an important range of cars that are still to be seen on the roads today. Regular reports will be put out by Porsche GB along with all the activities next year that will culminate with the car being driven again.